It’s Cold (and Wet) Out There

  I don’t know what the groundhog did or saw this year, but according to the calendar it’s still winter. The first day of spring is still a month away. If you’re a pollinator or grower of almonds, you’re hoping weather conditions up and down the central valley of California become more favorable for flight activity than they have been. I recently returned from 2 weeks of inspecting and sampling colonies where conditions were cold, wet, and windy. These conditions delayed onset and slowed progression of the almond bloom and are forecast to continue. Frequent updates on the progression of bloom and conditions for flight…

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Wintering Sheds: Why are more North American beekeepers overwintering their bees in cold storage?

More and more US beekeepers are starting to place their bees in sheds for the fall, for indoor wintering. While beekeepers in Canada have done this for decades, the popularity of the practice in the US is more recent. Beekeepers began by using structures already built for onion and potato storage in Idaho to house their bees in the fall. These beekeepers then remove the bees in January, and bring them to California for almond tree pollination. Many beekeepers are still using old potato and onion sheds in Idaho, but as the popularity of this practice has increased, some beekeepers have built sheds just for…

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Everything is Bigger in Texas

                I have been working in Texas for the Bee Informed Partnership since May, 2017. Many US commercial honey bee colonies are part of migratory beekeeping operations, so I have been on the road a great deal of the last 5 months helping beekeepers monitor the health of their colonies. I have been in a lot of bee yards in the Dakotas this past summer, and I’ll be going to California when the hives are trucked there to pollinate the almond orchards in the spring. Some of the beekeepers I work with keep their bees in Texas all…

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Northern California Summer Update 2017

In northern California, after a wet winter and spring it has been a really dry and hot summer. In the spring I saw a lot more chalkbrood than normal, something that was noted nationwide by our other teams. Below are a few images of some of the worst cases photographed. It has been the hottest summer in the 6 years I have lived in northern California, with many weeks above 100F. I was able to document how dry it has been this summer as I traveled around and sampled honey bee colonies for BIP. Other than the heat, beekeepers in northern California have been dealing…

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Carolina Jessamine Part 2: does it harm native bees?

This is my second post on the Carolina jessamine plant. The first post covered the effects of Carolina jessamine pollen on Honey bee colonies. The adult bees can become less active and die, and brood can die as well. But the Carolina jessamine plant is native to the Southeast United States. Honey bees are not. They were brought to the Americas by humans. This means that honey bees have not co-evolved with Carolina jessamine the way that native bees have. Do the chemicals in the plant affect native bees as well? I did a literature search to look for answers to this question. I was able to find…

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Hi from Phoebe Koenig, new Midwest Tech Team Member

Hi! I’m a new member of the Midwest Tech Team, and am looking forward to meeting many of you in the future. Here is a little bit about my honey bee background and my motivation for getting involved in the Bee Informed Partnership: I first became interested in honey bees when I was taking an animal behavior class as a college undergraduate. It fascinated me that so many individuals help the queen reproduce, sacrificing their own reproduction. I wanted to learn the theories underlying this phenomenon, and found that the more I learned, the more my interest in bees was cultivated. I wanted to learn…

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Want to Help Bees? – BIP Tech Team Fundraiser

Want to Help Honey Bees?             DONATE!              Help us expand the Bee Tech Team program to improve honey bee health and safeguard the food supply. WE NEED YOUR HELP. The success of the Bee Tech Team program has created demands beyond the scope of our existing funds. To scale our impact, we’re launching a campaign to raise 50K, a small portion of those funds. Help our campaign by donating funds and sharing our ask with others. ENGAGE. Help us spread the word by agreeing to share our campaign with your network. AMPLIFY. Provide a grant and/or matching funds to ensure the campaign’s success. HOW DO BEE TECH…

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Bee Informed Partnership Diagnosis and treatment of Common Honey Bee Diseases Wins Bronze!

At Apimondia this year our training manual for ‘Common honey bee diseases’ was submitted in the book category.  This simple training manual was entered among many other highly competitive books and won a bronze award to our surprise!  I originally wanted to create a honey bee disease/diagnosis manual because  most of the literature had very small, poor quality photos which made disease identification difficult.  So for the past 7 years I had been collecting images of the various bee diseases and pests I came across during colony inspections in Pennsylvania as well as in migratory operations around the country.  In 2011, I moved to Northern…

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Variable Efficacy of Mite Treatments?

Variable efficacy of mite treatments has been a constant battle for beekeepers in the past 28 years. However, there are some things we can do in the colony to increase a treatment’s efficacy. Many treatments available to beekeepers are spread through the hive by the bees and also by the bees fanning and ventilating the hive. This ventilation is a crucial part of the hive as a whole since pheromones are spread through the hive via ventilation and traffic from worker, queen and drone bees. Through my experience, and especially over the past 8 years, I have noticed many different types of beekeepers: there are…

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Spring in California 2014

The most opportune time for honey bee colonies in most areas of the U.S. is during spring build-up. The surplus of pollen and nectar that usually accompanies spring allows a growing colony to create a surplus of pollen and honey. It is also a time of year where the colony is trying to work through its kinks and get the colonies population dynamics under control as far as nurse bee to worker ratio. This ratio is crucial for hive ventilation and keeping moisture and bacteria from infiltrating the hive and causing problems. Some diseases that arise during this opportunistic time period are Chalkbrood, AFB, EFB…

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